Robin Washington, Senior Advisor to the CEO for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity
Diverse and inclusive. It's not just a policy, it's who we are.
Robin Washington, Keypath’s Global Vice President of Student Success & Retention has been appointed Senior Advisor to the CEO for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.
Last October, we launched our Global Diversity and Inclusion framework to inform our activities and initiatives to ensure the diversity within our organization only continues to grow. We sat down with Washington to learn about her thoughts on our year to date:
What makes you excited to lead our Global Diversity and Inclusion mission this year?
As a proud biracial female, I am incredibly honoured and excited to lead our Diversity and Inclusion plans for this year. I grew up in a very diverse family/personal network and without the experiences of learning and growing through those unique relationships I can only imagine that I would have had only half the success that I’ve had in my career (and life in general) to date.
With this said, though I’ve always been a champion of Diversity and Inclusion, with all that’s going on in the world around us it was time for me to step up and be even more courageous and bold in my involvement in how I helped support our diverse communities. The stories that I’ve heard from my family regarding the tough experiences that my grandparents had to live through being in a mixed-race relationship were enough to fuel my passion in this area and make me want to make them proud. This means having tough, but brave conversations to make sure that our Keypath team is supported and that we do our best to continuously grow and evolve in how we treat and embrace each other’s uniqueness.
Why is the celebration of Diversity and Inclusion so important to Keypath?
One of the best things about Keypath is our Global footprint. With locations all over the world our team is filled with some of the most diverse and incredible people I’ve seen yet in my career. We are proud of our diversity and want our Keypathers to be proud of theirs. Our differences are our greatest strength and not only result in a more successful business but most importantly, an engaging and valuable working experience for all of those who belong to Keypath.
Now, more than ever, it is so important that we let our employees know that we stand beside them and Keypath is a safe space for them to be celebrated for being unique individuals. First, before anything, I wanted to make sure we created a safe space for individuals to be open and honest about how we could support them in this mission. At Keypath, this means being bold in acknowledging issues and taking meaningful action to measure up against them, committing to the collaborative and ongoing process of learning and growth.
How is diversity celebrated at Keypath?
In addition to our commitment to providing ongoing training and development around Diversity and Inclusion to our employees this year, our Global Diversity and Inclusion Committee consists of about 50 Keypathers all over the globe who meet regularly to come up with plans and events to not only celebrate our diverse communities but also provide educational resources so that people can learn more about groups that they might not be as familiar with. Our DISC team is responsible mostly for identifying and championing global objectives and as well as listening to the voices of our Keypathers in terms of how we can continue to support them. From there, they make recommendations on diversity and inclusion matters and policies to our Leadership Team.
In addition, we also have put a lot of time over the years into making sure that our recruiting, onboarding practices and development paths for employees celebrate and encourage diversity.
What have been the highlights from your year so far?
Earlier this year we met as a Global Team where I was able to present to all our locations some of the things that we’d be doing this year to celebrate Diversity and Inclusion. I also had some follow-up meetings to encourage folks to sign up if they wanted to get involved. Throughout these meetings we had team members break down in tears, speaking about how much these plans meant to them sharing that they were nervous at times to be themselves in the workplace in fear of not being embraced. What I hope each of them know is that while I’m happy that we made an impact on them, their vulnerability in those moments have impacted me in a way I could have never imagined.
In addition, my favourite event this year so far has been our “Ask me Anything” series which centers around Leaders sharing their personal stories, giving advice or most candidly answering questions that Keypaths might have but are afraid to say without this forum. We kicked this series off back in October with our Vice President of New Program Development James Tribue who opened himself up to answer questions and perspective around being an African American leader living in the complexities of social issues in the world. The vulnerability of both James and from those who submitted questions had such a powerful impact that will no doubt making a lasting effect on people forever.